A Letter to My 18 and 1/2 Year Old Self: Part Three

Hey girl, hey! (This is currently your favorite greeting circa 2006. You are still saying it 11 years later... although not as frequently.)

You've been on my mind a lot lately. I think God is working through a lot of things in my heart that I assumed was already healed, but really had just been dormant. It's hard! But I think that's part of sanctification-- the continual growth that God does in us to make us who we were created to be. 

Again with the silly photos. It oddly makes me happy to know you had such a free spiritedness about you. I don't remember that.

Again with the silly photos. It oddly makes me happy to know you had such a free spiritedness about you. I don't remember that.

On Growth

Speaking of growth-- you have this idea that one day you're going "make it". That one day, you'd stop growing, because you'd reach the point you'd been dreaming about. You have dreamed since you were 6 years old about being an adult. Your favorite game to play with your first grade best friend was "Married Hotel Owners", remember that? You'd both own joint hotels (for some reason I have always envisioned them in Las Vegas, although I don't think 6 year old us knew what Las Vegas even was), right next door to each other, with your husbands. What a strange game. Anyway, you know what I mean: all you've ever wanted was to be an adult. You'd finally get over the childish things that annoyed you about yourself and your peers, you'd have a life that was fun and exciting and fulfilling and full. You assumed this would come, if not instantaneously in college, then very shortly after. At age 25 at the latest. Well, guess what? 

You are still growing, and learning, and you don't own a Las Vegas hotel. And the longer you move through this life, the more you realize that God is probably never going to be done with you-- that it's this game of whack-a-mole, where just when you think God's finished working on something in you, something else pops up. It's frustrating and overwhelming and truthfully, the greatest gift God could give you. Each grimy, gross thing that God shows you about yourself, each sin buried deep in your heart, is another opportunity to rely on the Lord and not yourself. It is awful and beautiful and at the very core of life: God is always wanting to draw you closer to Himself. And He's after your sin, because it keeps you from Him.

On Creativity

You have no idea what is ahead, but the most surprising thing will probably be this: you will call yourself an artist one day. Sure, you are creative, and you love making crafts-- but that's as far as you'll go in describing what you are. But even now, you know how alive you feel when you're creating. You aren't sure where it's going, but let me tell you: God will use art to bring joy to you that you've never known. You will do it slowly and you'll wait years before you ever really pick up a paintbrush but let me tell you something: you will love it. Oh my goodness, you'll love it. And people will pay you for it, which will continue to blow your mind. For years, you have said that your mom and sisters were artists, but you weren't. Own that label sooner. It is one that is so deeply embedded in your bones, you'll wonder how it wasn't ever there. It is the biggest honor you can imagine, to be called an artist by other people. You'll learn more about God's creativity by tapping into your own. It's just the best.

On Friends

You have moved a lot as a child, and you have always made friends easily. This is still true in college, and today. You have wonderful friends and you cherish them, but it took a lot of learning to figure out how to do this. You're still learning how to be a god friend, but let me tell you one secret I have learned that has changed my relationships: be okay with apologizing. Don't let your pride keep you from admitting you were wrong. You are wrong-- a lot. You hurt people and mess up and when you don't own your actions, your risk your relationships, and it's just not worth it. Apologize, ask for forgiveness, and be in awe of the grace that is extended-- then turn around and extend it yourself. 

On Emails

You currently love writing lengthy, emotionally-charged emails filled with passion about everything under the sun. You're still very passionate. But for goodness sake, write shorter emails. Don't be so carried away with yourself that you feel like everyone wants to hear your thoughts (you know, like Letters to your 18.5 yr old self, haha). And consider not writing these treatises altogether. It'll all be okay, and any important thing worth saying is worth saying over the phone or in person to someone. You'll look back and cringe at the things you wrote, which is fun, but also terrifying to think that someone actually received it (and could also still read it haha). 

Talk soon,

np